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More Storms Batter Northwest

Construction equipment stuck in water in washington state. CBS early show, 11/13/2006
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Snowfall from an early season storm forced road closures and knocked out power to thousands of people in the Pacific Northwest, days after warm-weather rainstorms caused major flooding in the region.

The latest storm, which hit the coast Sunday and moved inland, left a foot of snow in parts of the Cascades and buffeted much of the region with high winds. Authorities closed two mountain passes east of Mount Rainier until spring because of the threat of avalanches, the earliest such closure for one of the passes in 12 years.

"Once it gets to a point where it's too dangerous for our own maintenance crews to clear the roadway, we go ahead and close it," said Mike Westbay, a Washington Transportation Department spokesman.

Storms that were warm and wet started this bad weather a week ago, bringing so much rain, rivers quickly began spilling over their banks, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone, and the five-day forecast calls for rain every day.

Along the Oregon coast, gusts topping 100 mph helped knock out power to at least 65,000 customers late Sunday and early Monday, though most had it been restored by midmorning.

One road to the coast was blocked by more than 100 trees felled by the winds and rain-saturated soil, the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

Organizers canceled the annual Head of the Lake Regatta on Sunday after winds churned up 5-foot swells in the starting area, said Ben Porter, director of the Seattle-area race.

Flooding from last week's rainstorms killed at least three people, smashed rainfall records and damaged hundreds of homes, authorities said.

It was windy enough in Seattle on Sunday for organizers of the annual Head of the Lake Regatta to cancel the event, billed as the largest fall rowing regatta west of the Mississippi.

Winds were churning up 2-to-5-foot swells in the starting area in Lake Washington, just east of Seattle, and in Lake Union to the west on Sunday morning, making conditions unsafe for rowing, said Ben Porter, the regatta's director.

Officials said it's the first time the regatta been called off in its 26-year history.